LONDON: Britain has removed a further 47 countries from its travel “red list,” including the last three Arab states that were on the list, meaning that arrivals from those countries will no longer need to pay for pricey hotel quarantines.
Sudan, Tunisia and Somalia were removed alongside 44 other countries on Monday.
Fully vaccinated people entering the UK from non-red list countries will now only need to take a COVID-19 test on their second day after arrival — costing around $100. Seven countries will stay on the red list, all of them in Latin America.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.
“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery.”
The economic damage to Britain’s travel sector caused by tight entry restrictions and the decline in global tourism has been severe.
Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport — one of Britain’s busiest transport hubs, which is reportedly losing around £1 million ($1.36 million) per day — told the Daily Mail: “While we welcome the removal of many countries from the red travel list, we still need further simplification of the current travel rules by removing all testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers, ensuring common-sense recognition of foreign-issued vaccinations and removing the cumbersome Passenger Locator Form.”
All entries to the UK are still required to complete the form — a lengthy document designed to ensure that COVID-19 cases entering Britain can be traced and red list passengers quarantined.